Flemenstar impresses at Punchestown
©Healy Racing Photos
Flemenstar took the prize scalp of Sir Des Champs as he led all the way to win an enthralling renewal of the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown.
Peter Casey's exciting performer (evens favourite) jumped for fun up front and was followed by Rubi Light and Sir Des Champs throughout the Grade One contest, with Bog Warrior a late absentee through coughing.
Davy Russell sent Sir Des Champs after the leader on the turn for home, butp>Flemenstar skipped clear under Andrew Lynch and he was not threatened as he passed the post five lengths in front to enhance his already huge reputation.
Mikael D'Haguenet has never approached the heights of his hurdling career when tried over fences, but there wasn't much wrong with his performance as he broke his duck in the Blue Square Bet Beginners Chase.
Paul Townend made all on Willie Mullins' 8-13 favourite and though Lord Windermere chased him all the way, he could never get in a blow and was still two and three-quarter lengths behind at the line.
Mullins had already scored with the lightly raced Pride Ofthe Parish (1-3 favourite), who got off the mark over jumps with a facile success in the 2013 Annual Membership Maiden Hurdle, leading all the way under Patrick Mullins and stretching 13 lengths clear.
The trainer and his jockey son also won the bumper with Sizing Tennessee (4-6 favourite).
Townend also doubled up when Terence O'Brien's gutsy Glenquest (5-2 favourite) led all the way and beat off De Dodger to take the Weatherbys Ireland GSB Handicap Chase by two and three-quarter lengths.
The absence of Waaheb took some of the shine off the INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle, but there was a lot to like about the victory of Henry de Bromhead's consistent five-year-old Too Scoops.
Andrew Lynch sent the 6-1 shot past the front-running Rory O'Moore approaching the second-last and he made the best of his way home to win by three and a half lengths.